Where do you draw the line when trying to enforce rules in college? Readers of NXg react to an incident that might have just gone too far…
The pitfalls of an unequal relationship are many. And when that comes to be taken advantage of, causing harassment and trauma to those at the disadvantaged side of the hierarchy, it is time to stand up and fight it. Recently, a girl at Prince Shri Venkateswara Arts and Science College was strip-searched for a mobile phone by her Physical Education teacher. The college has banned cell phones on the campus but nothing can justify a breach of privacy in this manner, particularly for an incident at trivial as this. Thankfully, the incident was reported and hopefully some action will follow. Here are the reactions of some people who had much to say about incidents like these and the abuse of power. Niharika is heading to pursue Masters at SOAS.
This incident takes the ridiculous obsession college authorities have with cell phones and sexual “modesty” to a whole new level of craziness. The hypocrisy is obvious as hell here. I'm only glad it's been reported and is being talked about. No one deserves to be strip-searched in an educational institution; they are there voluntarily and still remain protected by their civil rights. Of course, all of this just harks of a tendency — by government and other institutions alike — to suspend all civil rights in case of sexually “erring” females who might potentially be breaking the somewhat inane rules of propriety they are expected to live under. If so, then that's more reason for this to be talked about. Seriously, just how deep into our bodies can the controlling arm of university authorities go?
SNEHA KRISHNAN, D.Phil, Oxford
It's often said that every coin has two sides, this report, however, has just one; a side that represents disrespectful conduct and I infringement of one's privacy. Universities across the country have been grappling with the understandable issue of use of cell phones in the campus. While some have banned cell-phone usage just in classrooms, others have gone a step ahead in banning them in their campuses. A recent research article hinted at a significant reduction in an individual's concentration level during engaging sessions if s/he is an avid cell-phone user. However, putting a student through the mental trauma of a strip search to look for a ‘hidden' mobile phone is a preposterous proposition irrespective of the motives behind the same. Such an action must be vehemently condemned and punishable through a moral if not a penal code to discourage any such practices in future. In addition to this, there is an urgent need for university boards to outline concise guidelines on an issue as universal as this
DIVYAM NAGPAL, VIT University
What really throws me off here is the paranoia. This isn't the first time that something like this has happened and I've even read of students committing suicide after such incidents. Why are educational institutions so paranoid? I don't believe it's just moral policing; clearly in this case it has to be a lot more than that. There is a huge chasm between the people running the educational institutions and those studying in it and unless the gap is bridged, nothing concrete can be done about this.
VARUN WARRIER has completed his B. Sc Zoology from MCC
I have no words to describe my wrath. I am happy that the girl complained. The teacher should be arrested under Section 354 of IPC, however the teacher outraged much more than just the “modesty” of the girl. I wonder what gives people this sense of power to breach into someone's privacy, and in this manner! Lastly, while I am in support of women's rights, I think a right to privacy is for both men and women. You definitely should be more sensitive while handling women, but I would have been equally outraged even if a boy was subjected to this.
ANISHA PADHEE is heading to Cambridge to pursue her M. Phil in Gender Studies
I think the incident was drastic, not just in its act but also the principle behind it. In a world of technology and rapid progress, for students to be subjected to such demeaning measures is unbelievable. Possession of a cell phone is not illegal or a rarity. I doubt there are differing opinions there. On the other hand, the fact that such cases are being reported and written about is heartening. It means we're beginning to question what happens and why it does.
DHIYA KURIAKOSE, Asian College of Journalism
It is indeed shocking to hear about this incident. Cell phones have become a necessity in today's fast moving world. While the ban on cell phones during college hours might be a good way to check its usage, strip-searching is a form of physical harassment. It is an invasion of one's privacy.
TANVI MEHTA, III Year, B.A.